20 May “8 CHOICES” Spring-Summer Study – Lesson 2 Supplement: “Is Christ at Home in Your Heart?”
Is Christ at Home in Your Heart?
Ladies! Ladies? Sister Girls… where are you???? I have a sneaking suspicion that after last week’s challenge to give some stuff away, some of you might have decided to hide out at home all week to avoid anyone complementing you on something and then having to give it up! OK, the challenge is hard… but it is so LIBERATING; if you just give it a shot I promise you will not regret it! Thank you, Michelle, for sharing your blog comments and your ruthless honesty!! Girl… you put into words how we all probably feel! But thanks for throwing it out there; it was lonely under the bus!
Now I’m going to pitch a curve ball to you and see how many of us can handle nonconformity! We’ll call this week a segue from chapter 2, The Money Trap to chapter 3, The Mouth Trap. After thinking over last week’s lesson and getting into lesson 3, the Lord has really taken the theme of the heart and driven it deeply into mine. I’d like to share a few thoughts with you, and reissue the challenge along with some questions for discussion.
In next week’s lesson we’ll take a look at how, “out of the overflow of the heart the mouth speaks…” (Matthew 12:34). It got me to thinking and the Lord redirected me back to the subject of “greed & grace” and the Money Trap. One of my favorite Christmas carols is “Joy to the World”; the lyrics, “Let every heart prepare Him room” are personally significant for me. I so want the Lord to have total access to every part of my heart (my mind, will and emotions) and to help me by the power of His Holy Spirit to let Him have His way with me. And I know that is His desire and plan, too!
Read Paul’s prayer in Ephesians 3:14-21; he prays that we might have power in our inner being “so that Christ may dwell in your hearts”. The word “dwell”, in the Greek, actually means “to personally inhabit as in a household; a home; the place where one has a fixed residence.” This isn’t any overnight stay at the Red Roof Inn as He’s passing through to the next person; this is a permanent settling down! The question I have to ask myself on a regular basis is this: Is Christ Jesus at home in my heart? At home… really at home in my heart?
My BF Caryl, from Orlando, just arrived last night (reason I’m posting this a day late) and as always I tell her to, “make yourself at home”. But never do I expect that I’d get up in the morning to find that she’s redecorated the place (which would actually be perfectly alright with me), or that she’s painted the dining room green, or knocked out a wall and added a door or window… Get it?
The expression “Jesus in my heart” is not that simple; He never asks to just come into our hearts and politely sit there until asked to help us out when we’re desperate. No, He tells us that, “If anyone loves me…My Father will love him, and we will come to him and make our home with him. (John 14:23, emphasis mine). And you know what that means? Look out, sister, the renovation is about to begin!
I know I’m a long way off of The Money Trap, but my point, again, is the heart. The heart! Listen, dear ones, all that stuff we are holding onto; all that stuff we can’t seem to let go of is representative of something or someone that is crowding Jesus out of our lives; crowding out the power of His Holy Spirit and keeping us in, yes, a greedy rather than gracious frame of heart and mind. There are things in His way and we’ve got to identify them and allow Him to have full access to them and remove them by the power of the Holy Spirit in us.
The Gospels record the following: “As is written in the book of the words of Isaiah the prophet: “A voice of one calling in the desert, ‘Prepare the way for the Lord, make straight paths for him.” (Luke 3:4 – NIV). I think The Message Bible states it more accurately…
Thunder in the desert!
“Prepare God’s arrival!
Make the road smooth and straight!
Every ditch will be filled in,
Every bump smoothed out,
The detours straightened out,
All the ruts paved over.
Everyone will be there to see
The parade of God’s salvation.”
OK, girls, let’s go back to our “stuff” for minute. Every single thing that has a hold on us is keeping us from experiencing the full impact of Christ in our lives. So, what do the things you’re holding onto represent in your life? Love… security… attention… trust…peace…? What would letting go of these things, or at least some of these things, represent for you, or how would it make you feel? Scared… fearful… unloved… unnoticed… empty… abandoned…? I truly believe that whatever or whoever it is, it’s in the way of Lord; and the answer to every single one of the issues our stuff represents is Jesus Himself.
So, what needs to be smoothed over and straightened out? What empty place needs to be filled up with His love instead of the stuff we’re trying to cram into it? What are the boulders and rocks strewn along the path of our heart that just keep getting in the way of His power? What needs to be paved over with His grace and mercy so that everyone can see Jesus in us?
Take some time and pray Psalm 139:23-24 “Search me, O God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. See if there is any offensive way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting” as you reflect on the questions in the 2 paragraphs above (in bold). Discuss your answers in your small group and/or on the blog comments.
Then, take another look at the challenge from last week (below). I’m going to extend the challenge this for the next 30 days with this one disclaimer: You do not have to give away your wedding rings! 🙂
You may want to review the questions from last week, as well. Then, let’s encourage one another by commenting on the blog! Please have at least one person from your small group, and those of you who are flying solo, blog about your experience. Please know that when you share with the group, you encourage everyone!
I will post my experience in a separate blog this weekend. In the meantime, GO FOR IT, sisters!! Let every sweet heart out there prepare Him room!!!
I love you so much!
xo – Punky
Discuss in your small groups, and/or on the blog comments, the following questions and the “Challenge” below:
1) How much of my life is made up of the temporal vs. the eternal?
2) If a journalist were to come into your home and follow you around for one full week, what would they report that you were “wealthy” in? What would they find you to be “greedy” over?
3) What is your “greed issue” revealing to you about your heart? Any unfit lovers lurking there?
Jill told us that one sure way to break the stronghold our stuff has on us is to start giving it away. Money, clothes, trinkets, cars… GIVE it away. Don’t sell it on Craig’s list or take it to a consignment shop. In Genesis 12:3 God told Abraham that he was blessed and he would be a blessing to many. Likewise, you and I have been blessed to be a blessing. So – my challenge for you this week is one I’ve learned from my friend, and partner in the Gospel, Mary Clayton Wood, who challenges women to give their things away. I warn you that it will not be easy, but it will set you free… freer than you’ve ever been, from your stuff, and will clear the clutter from your heart!
Over the next week, any time someone complements you on something you have, something you’re wearing, carrying, have in your home, etc… I want you to give it to them and do not buy another to replace it. Give it to them on the spot if you can, but if it is something you are wearing, go home and launder it, or empty it out, and take it to them ASAP. (OK, breathe, girls, breathe!)
Seek out someone who has a need and meet it with something you already have… and do not buy another to replace it.
Comment on the blog briefly about what you did, but more importantly, how it made you feel.